City partners with chamber on business grant
Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein told the Eudora Chamber of Commerce on Thursday the city of Eudora is beginning the process of applying for a rural business grant.
The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant is part of President Obama’s economic stimulus package and would provide funding for projects such as acquisition of land, construction, conversion and renovation of buildings, and roads and parking.
There is no maximum amount of funding, but the typical amount awarded is $99,000. Eudora qualifies as rural because of its population is less than 50,000 people.
Douglas County will assist the city in applying for the grant, which will focus on renovation of buildings.
Harrenstein said the most successful applications have been those that focused on renovation of buildings and were based on a partnership between city governments, economic development groups and chambers of commerce.
The city will work with the chamber to solicit prospective business owners who are interested in using grant funds.
“If we’re successful in achieving this grant, it goes to furthering development in the downtown area,” Harrenstein said. “It can contribute to the business tax base in town and it can help individuals who are interested in starting a small business realize their dreams of doing that. It also represents a partnership between private citizens, city government and the chamber of commerce to promote businesses in town.
“In these tough economic times, this type of aid is helpful to get things turned around on Main Street.”
Chamber of Commerce President Amy Durkin said the city’s help was invaluable because the chamber relies on volunteers.
“We’re all people running our own businesses and working at our jobs, so it’s hard for us to spend a lot of time outside of our own lives helping the chamber,” Durkin said. “Plus, along with being volunteers, we aren’t specially trained in acquiring grants, and someone like John went to school and learned how to apply for grants and he knows resources that we would never have any idea about.
“It’s really invaluable for John to be a resource for us and assist us in trying to grow the economy of Eudora.”
Citizens who are interested in opening a business that would need a building to be rehabilitated should contact the chamber at (785) 542-1212 for more information.